February, 2010 | Mays Impacts

If the object of the business game is to beat the competition, what motivates successful entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates to give out millions each year to support the growth and development of other organizations?

Joe Coombs
Coombs

Joe Coombs and Abbie Shipp, assistant professors of management at Mays Business School, have examined this topic and arrived at a potential conclusion: these organizations offer the opportunity to get what money can’t buy. Their study may benefit fundraisers seeking to engage entrepreneurs in their non-profit endeavors, as Coombs and Shipp delved into the psychological factors that motivate giving.

In their article, “Entrepreneur as Change Agent: Antecedents and Moderators of Individual-Level Philanthropic Behavior,” Coombs and Shipp discussed the topic of philanthropy as it relates to the individual. They were intrigued by the notable amount of money that goes towards charities every year. Their article states that, in 2006 alone, the amount given for charitable purposes exceeded $295 billion, with $223 billion coming from individual donors.

The fact that their research indicated wealthy individuals frequently often give charitably led to the question: “Why are successful entrepreneurs so inclined to give?”

Abbie Shipp
Shipp

There are three main psychological drives that Coombs and Shipp presented as causation: immortality striving, legacy creation, and generativity. Each psychological drive represents what a successful entrepreneur values besides increasing revenue. Shipp makes the observation that, as individuals become increasingly wealthy and successful, they come to truly understand that old saying, “money isn’t everything.”

The drive behind the donation could be for the benefit of future generations, the continuation of one’s name even after the flesh has passed on, or simply for that individual’s peace of mind. The correlation between each of these reasons is that inexplicable desire for something lasting, and for something absolutely priceless that “transcends the world of flesh and blood,” according to the researchers.

THREE REASONS ENTREPRENEURS GIVE
  • Immortality striving: The giver has come to terms with the fact that they will die and, therefore, strive to make an impactful contribution that lasts beyond their death so that they will be remembered.
  • Legacy creation: The desire to leave something behind not to be remembered, but to feel that the giver made a difference by supporting a worthwhile cause.
  • Generativity: Giving for the benefit of future generations or for the overall progress of mankind.

There were numerous other factors involved in philanthropic giving: age, gender, religious orientation, and level of wealth were some of the “moderating factors” involved in an entrepreneur’s decision to give.

These factors all play a part in the individual’s desire to give, and may also help researchers to answer the question, “Who gives to what and to what end?” Though Coombs and Shipp qualify that the evidence is inconclusive, there is ample evidence to distinguish some correlation between how these factors cause a deviation in philanthropic behavior.

Coombs and Shipp note that their research indicates that generally, men tend to give money for recognition, while women tend to give in order to help others. Also, as one might expect, the older an entrepreneur is, the more likely giving is motivated by “quest for immortality.”

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes

Last spring, a number of partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Houston office took advantage of matching funds offered by their employer and made gifts to Mays to endow scholarships in the Department of Accounting. Some of them were former students; some were merely friends of Mays. Their gifts, combined with funds from PwC created an endowment of $275,000.

Former students (L-R) Jennifer Bruce '02, Charlie Adams '02, Colin O'Beirne '97, Sam Sommer '06, and Nancy Powell '01, with Rachel Hanse '95 (not pictured), joined together to take advantage of matching funds from PricewaterhouseCoopers and endow a scholarship at Mays.
Former students (L-R) Jennifer Bruce ’02, Charlie Adams ’02, Colin O’Beirne ’97, Sam Sommer ’06, and Nancy Powell ’01, with Rachel Hanse ’95 (not pictured), joined together to take advantage of matching funds from PricewaterhouseCoopers and endow a scholarship at Mays.

Inspired by their giving, a group of younger alumni in the same office have joined together to present Mays with their own gift. Samuel Sommer ’06, Nancy Powell “01, Rachel Hanse ’95, Jennifer Bruce ’02, Charles Adams ’02, and Colin O’Beirne ’97 have committed to collectively contribute $25,000 to the PPA Former Students/PricewaterhouseCoopers Scholarship in Accounting.

“We saw this as a great opportunity to display one of PwC’s values, teamwork, by joining together to give back to Texas A&M and Mays,” said Sommer, the group’s representative. “All of us have been greatly impacted by our time at A&M and the people that shaped our lives.

Sommer, who has been with PwC since he graduated in 2007, commented that he and others in the group benefited from scholarships while at Mays. Through this scholarship they hope to make an impact on Aggies who will follow them. “Our goal is to continue to help students at Mays,” he says.

“I always appreciate scholarship support for our students but it is particularly meaningful to get such a large gift from our younger former students,” said Accounting Department Head James Benjamin. “I was touched by the initiative of this group to give back to A&M at a time when they have significant personal financial responsibilities.”

About PricewaterhouseCoopers

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 155,000 people in 153 countries across the network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Lindsay Dian Walters ’09 wore her Aggie ring proudly, whooped at home games, and loved to dress in maroon. She was the girl in accounting classes who was so beautiful and smart that classmates might have been too intimidated to speak to her, but whose warm smile and readiness to help others tackle challenging homework quickly put them at ease. Lindsay had a passion for A&M, for her friends, her family, and foremost, her faith in Christ.

lindsay-waltersOn March 1, 2009, Lindsay was out with classmates after passing the first section of the CPA exam the day before. Lindsay was waiting for her turn at a pay station in a parking garage near campus when she was struck and killed by a speeding vehicle. She was 21 years old.

As a lasting tribute to the fallen Aggie, her parents, Lisa Walters ’79 and Charles Walters, have established the Lindsay Dian Walters ’09 Memorial Scholarship at Mays. To date, the fund has received donations of nearly $60,000 toward the goal of $100,000. Of the amount raised, more than $37,000 has come from Lindsay’s family and many friends and supporters; the remainder has been supplied by a match from Mays.

“Lindsay was the kind of young person that made everybody’s day better by being a part of it,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “She is loved and missed by her fellow classmates, our faculty, and all of those who had the privilege to know her. Our future students who are supported by her scholarship need not look far for a role model — Lindsay is that role model.”

“To say that Lindsay was a positive person is an understatement,” said her mother, Lisa, who describes Lindsay as one who unselfishly helped others, often volunteering to tutor her classmates; a dedicated student who never made a B; a cheerful spirit, who always had a kind word and a radiant smile for others. She was a member of the Christian Business Leaders, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden Key International Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi. She was awarded the 2009 Student Achievement Award by the Federation of Schools of Accountancy, and was weeks away from completing the Mays Professional Program in accounting—a five-year program she was set to accomplish in four. A job with KPMG in Dallas was waiting for her.

Through tears, Lisa spoke of how she missed her daughter, her best friend, her only child. In the midst of her grief, she says she is glad that others have been touched by the tribute of Lindsay’s life. Lindsay would be proud, humbled, and thankful that so many chose to honor her memory with a gift to Mays, says Lisa. To the students who will hold the scholarship in her name, Lisa says her daughter would want them to follow in her footsteps and be a light to others. “Lindsay blossomed at A&M. She was an Aggie through and through…She would say, “Carry the light.'”

If you would like to contribute to the Lindsay Dian Walters ’09 Memorial Scholarship fund, go to givenow.tamu.edu; choose “Mays Business School” from the first pull-down menu; then “College of Business Administration General Scholarships” in the second pull-down menu. In the “Special Instructions and Comments” box, type in “Lindsay Dian Walters ’09 Memorial Scholarship.”

Categories: Students

Last June, the Mays community mourned the sudden loss of Jeffrey Conant, beloved professor and head of the Department of Marketing. On April 1, Conant will be honored with a day of events, including the dedication of the Dr. Jeffrey S. Conant Behavioral Research Laboratory at Mays.

Jeff Conant
Conant

Conant’s legacy of leadership, service, and academic excellence includes the behavioral research laboratory he helped to create at Mays. On April 1, a dedication ceremony will be held to name the facility. The ribbon cutting will be held at the lab (157 Wehner), followed by a presentation and reception in the Cocanougher Center (183 Wehner). If you plan to attend the reception, please RSVP to Missy Lund at mlund@tamu.edu.

A scholarship fund has also been started in Conant’s name, with a goal of $25,000. To complete the fund, there will be a benefit concert featuring Granger Smith ’02 at 7 p.m. on April 1 at Wolf Pen Amphitheater in College Station. In addition to the performance, there will be a tribute video about Conant and a check presentation for the scholarship fund.

The concert is being arranged by Team Conant (a collaboration of the Conant family and the Department of Marketing), which is selling “Project Conant” shirts in the Wehner building, now through April 1. The $10 shirts will have a dual purpose: they will serve as the ticket to the concert event, while all proceeds from sales will benefit the scholarship fund. Team Conant asks supporters to buy their shirts early and wear them often to advertise for this special event. To purchase a shirt, contact Spring Robinson in the marketing department (220 Wehner) or e-mail projectconant@mays.tamu.edu.

To give to the scholarship that has been started in Conant’s name, go to givenow.tamu.edu. Choose “Mays Business School” from the first pull-down menu; then “College of Business Administration General Scholarships” in the second pull-down menu. In the “Special Instructions and Comments” box, type in “Jeffrey S. Conant Memorial Scholarship.”

Categories: Faculty

David Andras ’85 says that of all of his experiences at A&M, there is one that will always remain fresh in his memory: the six weeks he and his wife, Anne ’84, spent traveling through western Europe with 50 classmates for a study-abroad finance course, led by Professor John Groth.

Rather than let the experience live on only in memory, the Andrases are giving to Mays to ensure that other Aggies have the opportunity to receive a world-class education without being hindered by a lack of funds. Their recent gift of $25,000 will establish the John Groth Scholarship in Finance, honoring the faculty member they remember so fondly.

Andras describes Groth as “a first-class professor and a first-class person,” and hopes the scholarship would be a way to honor Groth and the work that he does.

Groth says that the Andrases’ gift pleases him, but does not surprise him, based on his memories of them from the classroom. “I think that…their commitment to helping young people move ahead, to finding a right way and to developing themselves and contributing later in life, I think that’s precisely the spirit of Aggieland that we need and want,” he said. “They set an example in that process, a powerful example.”

In his 34 years at Mays, Groth has been recognized repeatedly for his excellence in the classroom. His teaching awards include the Association of Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching; the Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award; and twice, the Mays Business School Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2002, he spent a semester in Austria as a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar, and in 2005 he was chosen as a Mays Faculty Fellow for Teaching Innovation. He has taught students at all levels within Mays, including executive education.

His publications are numerous, and appear in various publications such as Journal of Finance and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Financial Research, Journal of Consumer Marketing, and The Financial Review. He has presented papers at international and national meetings and serves as a consultant and expert witness in the areas of corporate finance and management education. He was listed in the Journal of Finance Literature as one of the most prolific authors in the field for the 1959-2008 period.

Groth’s research interests touch on a wide range of topics, often at the intersection of psychology and finance. He has explored topics from human capital, creativity, and economic returns; to information, risk, and the decision-making process; to psychic factors and issues in valuation. “I try to pick something that I don’t know anything about…then it has to be a net addition. I try to learn something new every day.”

Currently he’s exploring human capital and creativity in light of time. “When today is over for us, today is over. It’s not like a barrel of oil, or a ton of steel, or ore in the ground,” says Groth. “If we don’t allow people to contribute today, we lose the present value of today’s contributions. In a financial sense, it’s gone forever.” Groth says that many organizations reward conformity and punish creativity, when to get the greatest contribution from an individual, the opposite should occur.

His interest in human capital was honed through a long career with the U.S. Navy, where he served for 26 years in both active duty and reserves. He held many leadership positions, including chief engineer and department head on a destroyer as well as commanding officer of several units. He retired from the Navy in 1991 with the rank of O6 (captain). The Navy was a great place to study human talent and capital, he says, as people of all races, backgrounds, and opinions had to come together to get the job done. “I’ve seen people do remarkable things, doing what needed to be done rather than what was convenient or personally desirable.”

Groth has been teaching at A&M since 1975, the year he graduated from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. He also holds degrees in physics and in industrial administration, both from Purdue.

Categories: Donors Corner, Faculty, Former Students

Jim McIngvale, or “Mattress Mack” as he’s often called, is famous for doing more than providing same-day furniture delivery service in the Houston area—he’s also known for his extraordinary commitment to community service and philanthropy: He feeds the hungry, helps victims of natural disaster, and gives away furniture regularly to those in need. The Gallery Furniture owner is also a key supporter of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays.


Gallery Furniture owner Jim McIngvale, known by many Houstonians simply as “Mattress Mack,” recently committed to an endowment of $250,000 for the creation and support of an interactive retailing library at the Center for Retailing Studies. [Photo: JP Beato III]

Gallery Furniture has been involved with the CRS for more than 15 years, recently moving to the highest level of sponsorship, but McIngvale’s involvement goes beyond financial gifts. He guest lectures in classes, has presented twice at the CRS’s Retailing Summit, and develops mentoring relationships with students interested in retail.

To continue to inspire Mays students to discover the world of retailing, McIngvale has recently committed to an endowment of $250,000, which will be used to create and support an interactive retailing library in the center. Plans are currently in production for the facility, which will feature state-of-the-art technology to provide students with current information about the retailing industry.

Center Director Cheryl Holland Bridges says that McIngvale’s gift is central to their mission of being a bridge between the academic and professional world, as it will put students in contact with the latest information from the marketplace in a dynamic learning atmosphere. Plans for the library include touch-screen monitors that will display business news, current marketing campaigns, presentations from retailing conferences, information about retail companies and positions in retail, and video interviews with retailing CEOs. The multimedia materials will encourage students to consider careers in retail, says Bridges.

McIngvale will also provide furnishings for the space to tempt students to stop by the library to relax, study, and learn more about the world of retailing.

Bridges says that whenever McIngvale speaks to her classes, “he always makes a big impact.” She recalls his recent visit and guest lecture in her retail merchandising class, during which he unexpectedly offered to take three students with him on his next buying trip. He made the arrangements for the students to accompany him to a furniture show in North Carolina; invited them to spend time at his store analyzing his customers and product line; then gave them a budget and asked them to select some items for his stores. “It was true experience education that related exactly to the course,” she said.

McIngvale has been actively involved with the CRS in a multitude of ways for over 15 years.
McIngvale has been actively involved with the CRS in a multitude of ways for over 15 years.

McIngvale says he’s glad to be involved with the CRS, as it’s “the best retailing studies place in the world. It’s great for students, and great for people that are in the retail business, like me.” He calls the center a resource for new ideas and inspiration for retailers, and says that he gets as much out of his association with the center as he gives. In addition to information, McIngvale says he appreciates the retailing students he’s able to recruit through the center. “It’s definitely a win-win.”

McIngvale has been in retail for more than three decades and has clearly found success in the arena. He says through the library he hopes to show students at Mays that retail is a great place to make a career.

Categories: Centers, Donors Corner

“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” This proverb often comes to mind for me, usually when I am being mocked by some UT fan or other person reminding me they are superior to me, as are their teams. When I am in despair over being inferior, I wish deeply that this proverb would come true, and in a hurry. But my focus on the “destruction” half prevents me from taking advantage of what the second half of the proverb provides: the road to honor.

This proverb is a way of life in the political arena. One party gains power, forgets Jefferson’s assertion that governments “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and does what it pleases. The American people toss that party out on its ear, and then the other party takes its turn and does the same thing

So let me speak out on behalf of those who do the wrong thing, recognize it, and change their ways. They do not call press conferences to give constant updates on how they are changing. In fact, they avoid both public self-flagellation and public self-praise. Nothing made me more comfortable about Tiger Woods than that he disappeared from public view. It is not important to me what he is doing or where he is doing it. None of us need updates on this. I am quite confident that what he is going through right now is sufficiently humbling for him to be on the path to honor. I have no idea whether he will do it, but I root for him to find that path and stick to it. My concern is that carefully orchestrated press conferences do not normally reflect humility.

But I recognize in my own life that when I experience success, I am most subject to becoming haughty, to turning down the road to destruction. People around here so desperately want to beat UT at everything, to prove that we are better. But it is that process of becoming better that is the sweetest part of life. At A&M we strive and work and toil to be recognized for what we clearly see ourselves to be.

I work with the greatest group of colleagues I have ever had the privilege to call friends. These people have amazing gifts and use them to benefit students. But I hope we never lose the sense that we have to prove ourselves every day to be just as good—to be better!—than those folks over in Austin. And I hope that we can laugh at ourselves for becoming so fixated in comparing ourselves to others.

I grew up in Baltimore, a town that has a history of working class sports heroes. For me, and for most Baltimore fans my age, that list is really three people long: Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, and Cal Ripken. We have loved other players—Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, and Raymond Berry to name three—but if we had to pick three, the first three would get overwhelming support.

What Unitas, Robinson, and Ripken have in common is that they overachieved through hard work, and they never considered themselves bigger than the team. Unitas is at the top of most lists of the best quarterback of all time, Robinson at least in the top three of all third basemen. Ripken holds a record that will never be broken.

But they are identified with the city as much as they are with their achievements. They represent the folks who scrapped and saved the money to be able to go to the stadium to cheer them on. Except perhaps for Ripken, they hung on too long, but no one resented them for doing so. The fans did not want to let them go, any more than they wanted to leave. For more than four decades, fathers pointed to them and told their sons, “Be like him.”

They faded into the sunset, but they did not experience destruction from their fame. They resisted the siren call that said that they were better than the great unwashed, and they embraced, with humility, the gifts that they had been given. Recalling people like them is why each sport established a Hall of Fame. Humility went before honor.

I am thankful to have had them in my life, and I call on their example as I seek to live wisely in a business school environment. In business, as we all know, the lure of fame and fortune is a strong one, and it changes people. The same is true in academe. It can make people haughty, especially if they teach at, or graduate from, a great university.

I can only hope that my students will never forget the proverb that began this column. And I pray the same will be true of their professor.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

A World War II veteran, a small town mayor, a dedicated community volunteer, a loving parent and grandparent, a die-hard Aggie. There are many ways to describe Earle Shields ’41, but one word sums it all up: servant. That’s why it’s no surprise that he has chosen to impact Mays Business School with a recent gift of $500,000, which will be matched with funds from Lowry Mays ’57. The resulting $1 million gift will be used to create the Earle A. Shields, Jr. ’41 Chair in Investment Advising in the Department of Finance.

Shields hopes that the faculty member that will one day fill the chair will inspire students to follow in Shields’ own footsteps: He has worked in the field of finance for 61 years in various positions. After a fulfilling career twice as long as many men experience, he was looking for a way to give back to the profession as well as his alma mater. As he wasn’t aware of a program at any university that prepares students specifically for the field of financial investing, he chose to endow the chair at Mays. “I loved the business so much that I thought this would fill a niche that needed to be filled,” he says.

A LIFETIME OF SERVICE

Shields has volunteered in some capacity with the following organizations:

  • Day Care Association of Fort Worth and Tarrant County
  • Child Study Center
  • Moncrief Radiation Center
  • Exchange Club of Fort Worth
  • United Way of Fort Worth and Tarrant County
  • State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee 7A
  • Fort Worth Crime Commission
  • Catholic Partnership Campaign
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital
  • Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
  • Community Foundation of North Texas
  • The Women’s Center board
  • YMCA board
  • Holy Family Catholic Church
  • Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth
  • St. Joseph Healthcare Trust
  • Catholic Schools Trust
  • Catholic Foundation of North Texas
  • Sisters of St Mary of Namur, Western Province, Finance and Investment Committee
  • Citizens Crime Commission of Tarrant County
  • Fort Worth Clean City, Inc.

Beyond achieving professional success, Shields has also been a dedicated community volunteer. “I believe it’s important for people to do volunteer work,” he says. “It takes a lot of good volunteers to run a community.”

In Westover Hills, the Fort Worth suburb where he and his wife Ruby make their home, he’s served as mayor for 15 years. His other volunteer positions are too numerous to mention, ranging from education to health care, serving as president, board member, or simply a servant. For his efforts, he received the Hercules Award for outstanding volunteerism in Tarrant County.

At A&M, he’s been on a handful of advisory boards. He’s also endowed a dozen scholarships across campus, including a recent one at Mays. He’s a servant in his church, where he is a trustee over the priests’ pension funds and serves on several other committees. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “I seem to have spent a life time doing volunteer work,” he says. And at 89 years old, he says he has no intention of slowing down. “If I stop, I’ll be six feet under.”

Shields graduated with a degree in engineering and a U.S. Army Reserve commission in the field artillery. He spent four years serving during World War II, including a stint as a gunnery instructor. He served in the European theater with Patton’s Third Army as a major and S3 of a field artillery battalion, and was awarded the Bronze Star medal. He became the battalion commander after combat and was responsible for transitioning troops home. He remained in the U.S. Army Reserves for many years and was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

After the war, Shields launched his career in business when he participated in a six-month training program at Merrill Lynch’s office in New York. When they asked him where he’d like to go after the program, his answer was confident: “Just send me back to Texas.” After 11 years in the Dallas office as a financial consultant, he was transferred to Fort Worth to oversee the office there and retired 26 years later as a senior resident vice president.

Soon after retiring, he went back to work, this time for NASDAQ as a corporate consultant. He also joined the Gearhart Industries board of directors as chairman of the Special Litigation Committee. Shields continues to be an industry arbitrator for FINRA Dispute Resolution, which handles securities litigation. He has also worked as an expert witness in this forum. Shields is currently an independent director of the LKCM Fund Group which consists of nine mutual funds.

More than his professional success and leadership roles, Shields is proud of his family: his wife, Ruby; their four children, three daughters-in-law, and six grandchildren—all of whom live in Texas.

Shields’ attachment to A&M continues to grow, as one of his sons and daughters-in-law are former students and a grandson is a current student. Another grandson recently left A&M to become a U.S. Army Ranger, serving a tour in Afghanistan.

Shields says he was delighted to hear of the matching funds available through the Mays gift, as it would double the impact of his own contribution. “Obviously we want to find a top person to fill the position,” he says, noting that will be easier to do thanks to the size of the endowment. No matter whom they find to fill the chair, the individual will have some big shoes to fill to wear the name of Earle Shields Professor.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

John Edwards. Ouch. Just the name makes me flinch. Having just written about Mark McGwire’s shortcomings in apologizing, John Edwards reappeared in the headlines. If you’re a professor, there’s nothing like an immediate opportunity to apply a theory!

In my last piece, I indicated that an apology for integrity issues should (1) avoid progressive revelation, (2) acknowledge the reason for the timing of the confession, (3) show visible evidence of a changed heart, (4) not attack those who raised the issues, and (5) embrace the consequences in a way that will prevent you from making a similar mistake. Doing this, of course, assumes that the apologizer is interested in a changed character.

John Edwards’s painful statement about his two-year-old daughter is an object lesson in how allowing progressive revelation can swamp the positive effects of taking any of the other steps. Stage one for Edwards was denying his affair with Rielle Hunter, referring to it as “tabloid trash.” Stage two was denying paternity of her child, stating that it was “not possible . . . because of the timing of events.” At the same time Edwards was, according to former aide Andrew Young, convincing Young to assume public responsibility for fathering the child. The final stage was his recent admission that he has been secretly supporting the child because he is, indeed, the father. We can safely say that John Edwards has done about as bad a job as any public figure in the last decade of providing progressive revelation of his culpability.

Second, he has not acknowledged the reason for revealing the information now, though most observers expect that the imminent release of Mr. Young’s tell-all book is what motivated Mr. Edwards’s written statement. In fact, personal advisor Harrison Hickman denied to NBC News that the book’s release motivated Edwards’s statement.

Having failed to follow my first two suggestions, it appears that people are not paying much attention to the final three. Despite his admissions, it is hard to show visible evidence of a changed heart when you are invisible to the public. He is not attacking those who raised the issues, but he has in the past. Actually he is, in a sense, embracing the consequences of his actions; perhaps most people believe this behavior could happen again, even if he is assuming responsibility for his child.

I recognize that it is hard to expect an attorney like John Edwards to follow my advice, when doing so might cause him to sacrifice legal protections. But the cost of his reticence is a jaded public’s resignation that they will always receive hollow apologies from those who betray their trust.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

For most people, going from owning a multimillion-dollar company, to owning a lemonade stand sounds like regression, but for Michael Holthouse it was the culmination of a dream. Holthouse was founder and president of Paranet, Inc., a computer network services company that grew in six years to 27 offices, 1600 employees and revenues in excess of $100 million. When Holthouse sold Paranet to Sprint in 1997, he refocused his talents on philanthropy, investments, and community involvement including helping youngsters learn entrepreneurship by selling lemonade.

Michael Holthouse
Holthouse

In light of his accomplishments, Holthouse will be recognized by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School with the Conn Family Entrepreneurial Leadership Award. Given in honor of C.W. and Dorothy Conn of Conn’s Appliances, this annual award is presented to a successful business leader that exemplifies entrepreneurial vision as well as managerial insight and business acumen. The award presentation and a lecture by Holthouse will take place at 10:20-11:10 a.m. on March 24 in 113 Wehner.

Not only does Holthouse donate his resources, but he also donates his time by setting up philanthropies such as Prepared 4 Life, which, according to its website, “prepares middle school youth for life through fun, proactive and experiential after-school programs infused with life skills, character education and entrepreneurship.”

Among his various philanthropies and community outreaches, Holthouse has started a nationwide event called Lemonade Day, hosted by Prepared 4 Life that gives youth an opportunity to experience entrepreneurship firsthand. Holthouse’s program provides participants with a handbook outlining how to run a successful business (how to approach investors, where to set up shop, how to sell the product, etc.); it also provides participants with their very own lemonade stands. Lemonade Day encourages community involvement and gives its participants the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship in a real-world setting.

Bryan/College Station children operated 250 stands for Lemonade Day 2009. Lenae Huebner, assistant director of the CNVE, says that as part of the Conn Award recognition, she hopes to raise awareness about the program so that next year more young people in the area participate. As a point of reference, she mentioned that last year in the Houston area there were 27,000 Lemonade Day stands. This year that number may swell to more than 50,000, while the program will be adding 11 new metropolitan areas, including Dallas and San Antonio.

For more information on the Conn Award, presentation, and lecture, contact Huebner at lhuebner@mays.tamu.edu.

To learn more about Prepared 4 Life’s Lemonade Day, visit lemonadeday.org.

Categories: Centers, Executive Speakers